I have recently come to the conclusion that I want to write a book. I was flipping through a library book on the 7th of August, M. J. Ryan’s This Year I Will, and it suggested that I quickly write down every goal I have for the next twenty years. Wow. I do not generally think that far ahead — five years is pretty much the maximum for right now (I’m currently working with more of a one year/18-months plan). The one surprise was that I want to write a book.
The very next day, my friend suggested that I write a book, potentially one based on the contents of this blog (the trans-related posts, that is). That seems far more achievable than my initial, partially formed idea about a research-based book regarding transformative justice and the need for prison abolition. The combination of Joey Mogul’s Queer (In)Justice and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow had planted a seed of an idea in my mind about what an achievement it would be to write a book similar to their books. I deeply respect them (as well as Joey Mogul’s co-authors, Andrea Ritchie and Kay Whitlock), and I truly believe in the power of the written word to open people’s minds and reach their hearts.
However, I have no idea where I would begin for that kind of book — I was a philosophy major. We didn’t conduct research. We didn’t interview people. We dealt with books and theories. But writing about my own thoughts and experiences? That I could do. I’m doing that now, actually. That seems far more realistic, although I won’t rule out the goal of potentially writing a different sort of book one day.
Since I first came out as trans, I’ve felt that there weren’t enough books about trans and genderqueer experiences. I’ve wished to recommend books to family and friends that would help them to understand what being trans means to me, but I’ve not found anything that really communicates my message. To the contrary, trans experiences are so varied that some books may confuse the people in my life more than reading nothing at all. So why not write a book myself?
In a way, the idea of writing a book seems almost ludicrously arrogant — who I am to write a book? I must really think highly of myself. Still, though, I think it’s not a completely unreasonable desire. I want there to be more trans books out there that I can identify with. I want an opportunity to write something more substantial than a blog post. I want to create something lasting.
And although getting something published in the traditional way seems nearly impossible, I could always send it to anyone who’s interested as a PDF: it’s what I did with my thesis. Or I could use Kickstarter to try to get a book actually published, now that I think of it. I even know people* who have had (or will have) their book published — this isn’t to say that my writing is necessarily as good as their writing is, but it makes the idea of being published seem something less than an impossibility. So why not dream?
*In the fall of our senior year, Syren Book Company published my high school classmate Chiara Kovarik‘s book Interviews with Muslim Women of Pakistan. My friend Katherine Scott Nelson‘s first short novel will be published by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography in October 2011 (I’m thrilled for hir, and you can check hir website for updates about the book).